Michigan freshman Spike Albrecht provides valuable rest for worn out Trey Burke vs. Arkansas
ANN ARBOR -- When Michigan played up-tempo teams a year ago, point guard Trey Burke generally left the game looking like he needed an IV to recuperate.
After playing a full 45 minutes during an overtime Big Ten win against Northwestern last January, Michigan coach John Beilein didn't make him available to the media afterward -- because he was in the cold tub.
Whether Michigan battled quick teams, slow teams or in-betweens a year ago, odds were Burke left the game exhausted.
On Saturday against Arkansas, though, the sophomore All-American didn't need a cold tub, he didn't need an IV or a day off to recover.
He's got Spike Albrecht now.
"There was a time around the seven- or eight-minute mark (of the second half) where it was just up and down for about six or seven possessions," Burke said after Michigan's 80-67 win over Arkansas. "I don't know if I had gotten a foul or what, but there was a dead ball and I was pretty tired because it was just non-stop.
"But Spike did a great job. And coach Beilein did a great job of getting guys in and out."
And, sure enough, moments after entering the game with under eight minutes to go Saturday, Albrecht made a difference. The freshman backup point guard nailed a 3-pointer to push Michigan's lead up to seven.
The next trip down the court, he found Glenn Robinson III for a layup. When he left the game two minutes later, the Wolverines were up nine and things were basically in hand.
"Spike was terrific, wasn't he?" Beilein remarked afterward. "I don't think he had a turnover, his numbers were terrific and they continue to be. He really helps us."
Albrecht didn't provide a ton on the scoresheet Saturday, but he did steal eight minutes for Burke.
On the season, Albrecht is averaging just under eight minutes a game for the Wolverines. He's handed out 10 assists, and coughed up just one turnover.
And, perhaps more importantly, Burke is averaging just 33.7 minutes a night -- down from the 36.1 minutes per game he logged as a freshman.
Albrecht's gains for the Wolverines aren't always tangible during a one-game window, but over 30-plus games throughout the season, his efforts are adding up.
Burke's saving his legs, Michigan's still winning and its backup point guard that no one else wanted is proving he's more than capable of hacking it at a high level.
"That's Spike," freshman forward Mitch McGary said. "He's not going to do anything wrong, he's always going to handle the ball well, he's going to step up when he's needed and play quality minutes.
"People look at him and don't think much of him, but he can play."